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Construction Impacts and Updates

Over the length of the project, there will be some impacts to abutters in terms of noise, traffic, parking, and other potential minor impacts. Project contractors and City staff are committed to minimizing and mitigating those impacts as much as possible. However, as with any construction project of this magnitude, some disruption is inevitable. We strongly encourage you to stay involved and informed by signing up for our bi-weekly (one every two weeks) email updates. You can do so by emailing construction@somervillema.gov at any time and noting that you’d like to sign up for SHS updates. Updates will also be posted to this page, and you can email us anytime with questions, comments, or concerns at shsfuture@somervillema.gov. In general, the impacts to abutters are outlined below and will be updated if and when we anticipate additional disruptions, or if conditions change. Please check back often for important updates.
 

Latest Update (11/15/2019)
  • At the eastern wing, foundations are expected to be completed within the next week or so. A second crane will be arriving onsite to help advance the steel work.
  • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work continues at the western wing, and crews will continue tarping the exterior to fully enclose it for winter-weather protection.

Update (10/25/2019)
  • At the western wing, crews will continue installing overhead ducts, sprinklers, and plumbing over the next several weeks. Work also continues on the facade and roof.
  • Contractors will begin roof steel installation at the former library/future theater and electrical work at the gym.
  • Steel work is also underway at the eastern wing. Click through the various time-lapse camera feeds to see the latest progress.

Update (9/25/2019)
Weather permitting, on Friday, September 27, crews will start work behind the Somerville High School campus as early as 6 a.m. to place concrete floor slabs for the lower level of the new school’s western wing.

These concrete floor slabs need to be placed in one continuous operation lasting more than 12 hours, so the construction team has been granted special permission to operate outside of normal work hours. The work itself is not expected to be loud, and contractors will do everything possible to minimize truck noise.

Update (9/13/2019)
  • Crews have begun placing concrete footings for the foundation of the new school's eastern wing.
  • At the western wing, work has started to construct the exterior facade of the new building, which you can see on the time-lapse camera view from Medford St.
  • Contractors are also continuing renovations at the gym and future theater.

Update (8/29/2019)
  • If weather permits, contractors plan to place concrete floor slabs for the second level of the western wing early Monday, August 19. Trucks will arrive starting at 3 a.m. This process is expected to repeat two more times in the coming weeks (to place the third and fourth floors).
  • If you live near the high school, please ensure you're enrolled in the City's alert system to be notified in advance.
  • Now that the Phase 2 work zone has been established further east, take a look at the latest site logistics plan, which shows the campus layout through Fall 2020.

Update (7/30/2019)
  • On Thursday, August 1, crews will arrive behind the SHS campus as early as 4 a.m. to begin placing concrete floor slabs for the new building. From 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., School St. will be closed between Montrose St. and Highland Ave. to facilitate truck access.
  • These concrete floor slabs need to be placed in one continuous operation lasting more than 12 hours, so the construction team has been granted special permission to operate outside normal hours. The work itself is not expected to be loud, and contractors will do everything possible to minimize truck noise.
  • Beginning on or around Wednesday, August 7, parking adjacent to the Central Library will be removed as SHS construction progresses to the next phase. Per the original plan, this parking has been scheduled to be removed, and library patrons will need to use on-street parking. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Update (7/26/2019)
  • During the week of July 29, demo will continue at the E building (furthest east, in front of the gym).
  • If weather allows, contractors plan to pour concrete floor slabs for the first level of the western new building on or around Wednesday, July 31.
  • This work needs to be conducted in one continuous operation, so trucks have been granted permission to start work as early as 4 a.m. the day of the pour, and work may continue into the evening. The work itself is not loud, and contractors will make every effort to minimize truck noise during the early morning hours.
  • Additionally, the morning of the pour, truck traffic will require School St. close between Highland Ave. and Medford St. from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • If you live near the high school, please ensure you're enrolled in the City's alert system to be notified before that work.
  • And finally, please join us for the next public meeting about Central Hill parking on Thursday, August 15, at the Winter Hill Community School.

Update (7/19/2019)
  • Exterior demo continues at the E building (furthest east, in front of the gym). Interior abatement is also taking place in the D building (the former school library and future auditorium).
  • Suffolk continues erecting structural steel at the western new building, which is expected to continue for about one more month.

Update (7/12/2019)
  • The E building (furthest east, in front of the gym) is coming down. Demo is expected to continue over the course of the week of July 15.
  • Suffolk continues erecting structural steel at the western new building.

Update (6/14/2019)
  • Phase 2 of this project, which includes renovating and expanding the E building (in front of the gym), begins June 17. Suffolk will establish a new work zone around the eastern half of campus, extending south to Highland Ave. and east up to the Central Library.
  • To support Phase 2 construction, at least through the fall of this year, the driveway entrance opposite Vinal Ave. will be closed. Instead, the one-way exit near Central Library will be converted to accommodate two-way traffic. Modified parking will continue to be available, and access to the Central Hill playgrounds will be maintained.
  • Another milestone of note: Structural steel installation is expected to begin at the new western building this week. Keep an eye on the project website to watch the progress in (almost) real time.
  • At the eastern building, interior abatement and demo will begin on first, second, and third floors of the E building. New decking will also be installed on the gym roof.
  • Weather and schedules permitting, the next round of tree removals is anticipated to move forward during the week of June 17.

Update (5/24/2019)
  • In mid-June, after school's out for the summer, the Central Hill playgrounds will close until sometime in 2021 to advance construction on this project and the Central Hill Campus Plan. Click here to see other parks and playgrounds nearby.
  • Behind campus, during the week of May 27, Suffolk will begin pouring interior footings for the western building's lower level.
  • Over at the eastern building, they'll excavate underground plumbing, demo interior walls, and continue incremental reconstruction of the gym roof, which you can see on the time-lapse camera feed.

Update (5/17/2019)
  • Monday, May 20, a crane and trusses are expected to arrive outside the gym, which is notable for a few reasons:
  • First, it marks a significant next step for the project -- construction on the new field house roof.
  • Second, this particular crane is a testament to ongoing teamwork between SHS and GLX projects. Original GLX plans would have required a much larger model be used at significant cost to the City, so the crane you'll see onsite is the product of many hours of careful coordination. The more you know!
  • In about one month, in mid-June after school's out for the summer, the Central Hill playgrounds will close until sometime in 2021 to advance construction on this project and the Central Hill Campus Plan. Click here to see other parks and playgrounds nearby.

Update (5/10/2019)
  • In the E wing, interior demo is mostly complete, but roof demo was pushed out until steel trusses arrive within the next week or so.
  • Behind the school, crews continue to pour foundations for large lower-level walls of the new building.

Update (4/19/2019)
  • During the week of April 22, crews will continue interior abatement and demolition inside the E wing and removing ballast from the roof, which they'll take down in the coming weeks.
  • Behind the school, they'll excavate toward the train tracks to make room for lower-level walls. The first steel is expected to be installed in about a month

Update (3/15/2019)
  • This past week, concrete was placed at the first building foundation wall. Scope out the best view on the time-lapse camera feed.
  • Weather permitting, on Monday, March 18, work will resume on Highland Ave. between Putnam St. and Vinal Ave. for three to four days, requiring lane shifts and parking restrictions. Pedestrians should use sidewalks on the southern side of Highland Ave. in that stretch.
  • Through the week of March 18, parking restrictions will continue on both sides of School St. near the Montrose St. intersection as crews continue installing water valves.

Update (2/22/2019)
  • Crews began pouring foundations for the new building on February 15 (shown from a safe distance, above). This is a major construction milestone for the project -- after years of preparation work, the actual building is underway.
  • Beginning on or around Wednesday, February 27, please expect parking restrictions on School St. near the Montrose St. intersection through at least the end of the week. Crews will be in the area installing water valves.
  • Central Hill Park playgrounds are now expected to reopen in the next two to three weeks.

Update (2/15/2019)
• Behind the high school, concrete's going in! Crews are in the process of pouring foundations for the new building.
• Fifteen trees along the front of the campus are planned for removal during the week of February 18 or shortly thereafter. All were previously identified for removal during tree hearings.
• While students are on vacation, crews will tackle some drainage work on the concourse near City Hall, but all parking is expected to remain available.
• Over on Central Hill this past week, the Civil War monument made its way into storage. It will be restored and eventually reinstalled as part of the Central Hill Campus Plan.
• Crews are working to clean up the Central Hill Park area, and playgrounds there may reopen by the end of the week.

Update (2/13/2019)
On or around Wednesday, February 20, crews will remove a total of 15 trees in front of Somerville High School and in Central Hill Park as part of the Somerville High School Building Project. This round of removals includes four trees in front of the school’s main entrance, four in front of the high school library, five in front of the field house, and two near Central Hill playground.

All were identified for removal in public meetings on
June 8, 2017, and February 26, 2018. Notices were posted on the trees themselves on February 6, 2019.

Update (2/1/2019)
  • Weather permitting, crews plan to return to Highland Ave., adjacent to Central Hill Park, Monday, February 4, through Thursday, February 7, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • During work hours, westbound traffic will likely be rerouted down Walnut St. to Medford St. and up School St. Eastbound traffic will proceed normally, as will MBTA buses in both directions.
  • On-street parking will also be restricted during work hours on both sides of Highland Ave. between Vinal Ave. and the Central Library.
  • Playgrounds on Central Hill remain closed through about mid-February.

Update (1/28/2019)
  • The driveway entrance to the Central Hill concourse, on Highland Ave. opposite Vinal Ave., is expected to be closed Wednesday, January 30, and Thursday, January 31, but parking will remain available. Police details will be onsite to facilitate access.
  • Work continues in Central Hill Park to install drainage and relocate the Civil War Monument. Playgrounds there remain closed through about mid-February.
  • Behind the school, crews continue excavating soil and installing shoring.

Update (1/18/2019)
  • Contractors will continue monument removals and drainage installation in Central Hill Park. Highland Ave. should be clear the week of January 21, but the playgrounds there remain closed through about mid-February.
  • Beginning the week of January 21, the Civil War Monument will be moved from Central Hill into storage for the duration of construction. The structure is 28 feet tall, so crews estimate needing two weeks for this work.
  • Behind the school, crews continue excavating soil and installing shoring over the next few weeks. It's not very glamorous yet, but you can see progress taking shape on the time-lapse video.

Update (1/4/2019)
  • The playgrounds in Central Hill Park are closed until approximately mid-February. Contractors will be moving the monuments offsite for restoration and storage during construction, then installing new drainage in the area. The monuments will ultimately be reinstated at a location to be determined as part of the Central Hill Campus Plan.
  • To accommodate the work outlined above, please expect parking restrictions and alternating traffic on Highland Ave. between Vinal Ave. and Walnut St. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • The sidewalk adjacent to the playgrounds along the northern side of Highland Ave. will also be closed during work hours. Police details will be onsite to help coordinate.
  • Crews will also continue installing shoring behind the campus.

Update (12/21/2018)
Over the next few weeks, Suffolk will continue installing shoring behind the campus.

Students are on vacation the week of December 24, but workers may be onsite to remove some of the intact asbestos that had been discovered during excavation. All abatement is in accordance with plans approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Asbestos that is properly managed in place poses no health risk.

Beginning on or around January 2, please expect construction activity on the Central Hill concourse between the SHS field house and the Central Library. Crews will be working on drainage in the area and removing the monuments from the site. Both playgrounds on Central Hill will be closed for about four to five weeks as a safety precaution.

Update (12/7/2018)
Suffolk will continue excavating soil behind the school, they'll begin coring holes for micropiles near the main building, and they plan to install micropiles near the high school library building during the week of December 10.

Abatement work continues to remove some of the intact asbestos that had been discovered on the construction site during excavation, so you may see contained work areas set up and personnel in protective gear onsite. As a reminder, asbestos that is properly managed in place poses no health risk to students, staff, or the general public.

If you're interested in parking on Central Hill parking policies, please join City staff on Wednesday, December 12, at 6 p.m. at the Central Library, 79 Highland Ave. This is the fourth in a series of public quarterly meetings to discuss parking changes, new data collection, and strategies for impact mitigation. Click here to learn more.

Update (11/30/2018)
Work is ongoing to remove some of the intact asbestos that had been discovered on the construction site during excavation. All abatement is in accordance with plans approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Asbestos that is properly managed in place poses no health risk to students, staff, or the general public.

As abatement continues, you may see contained work areas set up and personnel in protective gear onsite.

The schedule for removing monuments on Central Hill has been slightly delayed. Playgrounds in the area are expected to be open for use throughout the week of December 3.

Suffolk will continue excavating soil behind the school, and they'll begin coring holes and installing micropiles near the D building (the high school library).

Update (11/14/2018)
Please expect restricted access to the Central Hill playgrounds and the surrounding areas in front of the Central Hill library during the weeks of November 19 and November 26.

During that time, the Civil War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and the Women of the Union Square Post Plaque Memorial will be removed, restored, and stored for the duration of construction. These will ultimately be reinstalled at locations to be determined as part of the Central Hill Campus Plan.

Update (11/2/2018)
In October, we notified you of the discovery of intact asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in the insulation of a pipe in an outside section of the SHS construction project. As we noted, the standard process to secure that area and ensure the safe removal of the materials was immediately put into place. The removal process for those materials has been completed.

We want to make you aware of subsequent suspect / confirmed ACM findings during the excavation process. Black footing damp proofing on the no-longer-used exterior gym stairs; insulation found on an old, unused, and unconnected pipe located underground; and insulation/debris inside an old, unused utility tunnel were confirmed to have ACM. Again, the areas were immediately secured as required by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Work plans for these areas are being or have been developed, and are being or have been submitted to the DEP for approval to safely remove these affected materials. Excavation work around these areas has been temporarily halted until the plans are approved by the DEP and the affected materials are safely removed from the construction site. SHS parents/guardians and staff have already been notified.

As noted in our earlier communication, asbestos only presents a health risk when fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Like the previous finding, the latest ACM findings are intact and immediately contained, posing no risk to students, staff, or the general public. We want to reassure you that all abatement measures are being taken to safely remove the material in accordance with Federal and State regulations. You may again notice personnel in protective suits and wearing respirators while the abatement work is occurring, a normal practice during the removal process. All removal work is monitored, air quality is tested throughout the removal process, and final assessments are performed by a licensed project monitor to confirm that all ACM has been properly removed. Again, we remind you that these types of findings are very common on large construction projects involving older buildings.

We will continue to keep you informed as work on this project progresses, and are committed to ensuring that all appropriate steps are taken to safely and immediately address any unforeseen issues. For further information, please contact Leo DeSimone at
ldesimone@k12.somerville.ma.us or (617) 625-6600, ext. 6136.

Update (10/25/2018)
During the week of October 29, Suffolk will continue excavating soil behind the school and working on the foundation for the emergency generator.

During the week of November 5, the Memorial Cannons will be removed from Central Hill and stored offsite. Pedestrians should expect restricted access in that area and note posted detours.

A few weeks thereafter, removal of the other monuments will begin. These include the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Women of the Union Square Post Plaque Memorial, and the Civil War Memorial.
Click here for an overview of the monuments, memorials, and art pieces on Central Hill that will be temporarily removed and stored for the duration of construction.

Update (10/15/2018)
We want to make you aware that a small amount of intact asbestos containing materials (ACM) were found in the insulation of a pipe in an outside section of the SHS construction project, between the vocational and academic areas of the 1986 wing. The area was immediately secured with red tape and poly tarps, as required by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A work plan was approved by DEP to safely remove the affected materials. The removal process is currently under way. SHS staff and parents/guardians have already been notified.

Asbestos only presents a health risk when fibers become airborne and are inhaled. The ACM found at the site was intact and was immediately contained, thus posing no risk to students or staff. All abatement measures are being taken to safely remove the material in accordance with Federal and State regulations by trained and protected personnel in a manner that is protective of workers and occupants of the property. You may notice personnel in protective suits and wearing respirators while this work is occurring. This is part of the normal practice of removal. These types of discoveries often happen on large construction projects on older buildings, and we assure you that all removal work is monitored and final assessments are performed by a licensed project monitor to confirm that all ACM has been properly removed.

For further information, please contact Leo DeSimone at ldesimone@k12.somerville.ma.us or (617) 625-6600, ext. 6136.

Update (9/19/2018)
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As of September 17, demolition of the C wing and the rears of the D and E wings has been completed.

Suffolk is also putting the finishing cosmetic touches on a new stairwell behind the gym (E wing), which leads down to Medford St.

During the week of September 24, behind the campus, crews will begin excavating soil and trucking it offsite. They’ll be clearing that area down to foundation level for the new building.
  • Past Updates

    Updated 8/13/2018

    UPCOMING CONSTRUCTION

     
    Demolition
    The C wing has now been fully demolished and Suffolk Construction has almost completed removing the debris from the site. Beginning the week of August 13, demolition will begin on the rear portions of both the D and E wings. The process and equipment used will be exactly the same as when the C wing was demolished: Large machines such as backhoe loaders and hydraulic excavators will remove sections of the existing buildings piece by piece and load the debris into trucks for removal from the site. Demo on these sections is expected to take one to two weeks to complete.
     
    Other Construction
    During the week of August 13, Suffolk will build a ramp
    between the A and B wings to provide a new accessible entry point. This work involves excavating the stairs that are currently where the new ramp will go, as well as some saw cutting, which may produce some moderate noise in that vicinity.
     
    Also during the week of August 13 and lasting for about two weeks, crews will be constructing a stairway off the back side of the gym leading to the sidewalk at the rear parking lot along Medford St. Some excavation is anticipated for a few days at the beginning of this project.
     
    Weekend Work
    Suffolk will work August 18 and August 25 to keep the project on schedule.
    Construction hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but trucks may arrive as early as 8 a.m. to prepare. If work is occurring outside of allowed hours, please contact 311 to report any issues or concerns. Some quiet interior work has been approved to start at 8 a.m. There may be some workers onsite on Sunday, August 19, as well, but only to do some minor, unobtrusive cleanup.  
     
    PROJECT INFO & CONTACTS
     


Noise
In general, contractors will not conduct work which requires significant noise during times when school is in session Through most of Spring 2018, there should not be much noise impact as students will be in school through June, and major demolition work will not begin while school is in session. Dust control measures will be utilized during any and all work where dust could spread beyond the immediate project area. Abutters will be notified in advance of any demolition work.

The High School Project consists of three phases of demolition:

  • PHASE 1: Beginning on or about June 22, 2018, demolition activity will take place on the High School “C Wing,” the north end of the existing SHS library, and the Cambridge Health Alliance rooms east of the library. Major demolition is expected to take 4-5 weeks (Monday-Friday) to complete.
  • PHASE 2: Beginning on or about July 8, 2019, demolition activity will take place on the SHS “1986/CTE Wing.” Major demolition is expected to take 4-5 weeks (Monday-Friday) to complete.
  • PHASE 3: Beginning on or about July 18, 2020, demolition activity will take place on the SHS “A Wing,” Auditorium and Boiler room. Major demolition is expected to take 8-10 weeks (Monday-Friday) to complete.
Construction phases
 


Parking
Parking on the City Hall/SHS concourse, and other parking lots currently situated adjacent to SHS will gradually be eliminated as the project progresses. In January 2018, parking spots abutting the green space on the concourse were eliminated to make room for modular classrooms that will be utilized beginning on April 23, 2018.

Over the week of April 15, 2018, parking on the entire City Hall/SHS concourse will temporarily be closed as contractors create a new parking and driving configuration. That work will be complete and the concourse reopened on April 23, 2018. During the week of construction, City Hall staff will utilize SHS parking lots as school will not be in session. Therefore, we anticipate a net gain in parking for the neighborhood during the week of April 15, 2018.

The next alteration of parking will be the closure of the upper and lower school lots on the east (library) end of the site. This closure will occur at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 academic year, currently anticipated as June 19, 2019.

More information is available
here.
 


Dust Control
The contractor will develop and enforce procedures for preventing construction activities from creating unacceptable Indoor Air Quality within occupied areas. This includes use of dust protection, filters, containment, ventilation and negative air pressurization. Suffolk is required to monitor work practices and have systems in place for early detection of potential Indoor Air Quality issues. Suffolk is required to provide monthly monitoring of the building indoor air quality with additional monitoring required when construction operations generate higher levels of potential contaminants.

On the exterior of the site the contractor is required to employ dust control measures, often accomplished by watering down work areas on a regular basis, and particularly prior to earthwork or demolition activities. Construction equipment utilized onsite is required to have full exhaust systems and exhaust scrubbers where applicable.
 


Construction Timeline

 

Phase Start 

Substantial Completion

Punchlist Complete 

Early Abatement 

Apr-2018

Jun-2018

NA

Phase 1 - Demo/New Addition

Jun-2018

Aug-2019

Aug-2019

Phase 1A - Lower Level Gym

May-2019

Sep-2019

Oct-2019

Phase 1B - 1st Floor Gym

Apr-2019

Jan-2020

Jan-2020

Phase 2 - New Addition

Jul-2019

Jul-2020

Aug-2020

Phase 2A - Auditorium

Jul-2019

Jan-2020

Jan-2020

Phase 3 - Demo/Field

Jul-2020

May-2021

Jun-2021


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Contact us:
shsfuture@somervillema.gov